Imagine Lou Reed thumbing a ride from the E Street Band, traveling from Lexington and 125th in Harlem to Texas, to catch Townes Van Zandt. Kissed by all three, Austin singer/songwriter Justin Fallen and his Angels affect the affability of Van Zandt, the largesse of Springsteen and grit of Reed on their new EP, The Rock & Roll Kids EP.
His mind’s eye takes it all in – the scenery; the long, long roads; the sunsets; creeks and rivers; the myths and legends; all the wayward souls, aimless and self-destructive. He can shape those images into song with his trusty 1967 Epiphone Texan, or his Stratocaster, and put it all together into a country-rock soul-shaker like The Country Hero. He fell in love with Austin, and he wears those feelings on his figurative sleeve.
– KUTX Austin Music Minute
“As sad as it was to see Matt Simon and Phil Ajjarapu’s Eastern Sun Studios close down earlier this year, the blow is softened by the fact that the last album recorded there [the Rock & Roll Kids] is also one of the finest.”
I guess that’s what you get when you cross the manners of a Virginian, with the country swag of a Texan, and you strap him with a 1967 Epiphone Texan
West Texas, heroes & outlaws, bourbon, creek beds & rivers, cross-country hitchin, the sun in your eyes & the windows down, heat-stroke gospel prayers for rain on the radio, rolling thunder in the summer and songs that strike your heart clean open like lightning, keys & drums & guitars that leave the stage smoking, that sweet strike zone where country music meets rhythm & soul and sounds like rock & roll with harmonies overlapping like a venn diagram of everything you ever wanted to dance to …
Justin Fallen grew up in Virginia and learned to write songs in Texas. He writes and plays on a 1967 Epiphone Texan or a Mexican Fender Stratocaster given to him by a friend who was leaving town. Some songwriters he calls the greats: Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young. He lives in Austin, and once had a band called Holler and Bang.
Matt Simon (The Black, Belaire, Voxtrot) — Drums
Bryan Mammel (Sons of Fathers, The Black) — Keys
Richard Kentopp (Belaire) — Lead Guitar
The Country Hero is a mythic dream narrative set in a country tinged backdrop. Eleven tracks, it features performances from some of the finest central Texas has to offer: the Hardproof Horns (Black Joe Lewis), Landry McMeans (the Lonesome Heroes), Bobby Fitzgerald (The Whiskey Shivers), Nicolette Good, and more. Produced by Matt Simon with string orchestrations by Phil Ajjarapu, completed in late spring 2013, it was released on November 21, 2013.